Saturday, October 24, 2009

Good news from Ottawa

Anglican Diocese of Ottawa held their 2009 Synod. From their Bishop, John Chapman:
I did refer the matter to the Doctrine and Worship Panel [Following the Diocese of Ottawa's 2008 Synod] requesting that the Panel consider for you and for me, the theological dimensions of blessing the civil marriages of same-gendered couples. As well, I asked the Panel to provide appropriate protocols for how such a blessing would be conducted. The Panel has provided me with a written report. Following careful study of their recommendations, much prayer, ongoing input from the international and national Church and mindful of the 2007 Diocese of Ottawa Synod motion, I have decided to proceed in the following manner.

Mindful of my understanding that:

Same-sex couples who are civilly married and seek the Church's blessing of their marriage must be welcomed with the same care and solicitude that the church would extend to any other of its members; and, that when the church blesses the marriage of anyone civilly married it does so recognizing that the couple is already married and that the blessing celebrates and deepens a reality that already exists;

I give my permission to the Church of St John the Evangelist, Ottawa to begin offering a rite of blessing to those same-sex couples civilly married where at least one party is baptized, utilizing the rite of blessing for civil marriages found in the Book of Occasional Celebrations, published by the Anglican Church of Canada.

The preamble to the rite points out that the role of an ordained minister in a marriage service is to pray for God's blessing on the marriage, which the couple has ministered to each other.

I have not chosen to create an entirely new rite as has been offered by at least two dioceses in Canada. My intention is to embrace a liturgical process that will not discriminate between members of the Church on the basis of sexual orientation. This will be Ottawa's offering to the ongoing discernment that is happening throughout the Anglican Church of Canada.

It is my conviction that the process of discernment proposed here is fundamentally conservative and traditional. That is, the process of experiential discernment is witnessed clearly within Holy Scripture. A significant instance may be examined in Acts chapter fifteen. There the Church determines to do something, which, on the face of it, is against a plain reading of many other scriptural texts. The reinterpretation of these texts is held to be done under the guidance of the Holy Spirit in order to bring "new things out of old" as they are found in the new creation instituted by the death and rising of Jesus Christ. Such reinterpretation is witnessed to elsewhere in both Testaments and in the subsequent life of the Church.


Leonardo Ricardo said...

This is huge and a reason for great joy...thanks!

Grandmère Mimi said...

Now that's the way to be a bishop, to care for the whole flock. I like that he decided to use the traditional rite for the blessing of a civil marriage for all couples.

SimplySuzi said...

I am VERY proud of my church here in Ottawa.

JCF said...

Awesome! (both the marital equality, and the reasoning behind it)